As the 2019 General Election draws to a close, and people cast and count the votes, the speculation will shortly begin about what this result will mean for an Assembly election that is less than eighteen months away. People will take away the results in seats like Brecon & Radnorshire, Bridgend and Wrexham and map them on to the coterminous Assembly seats. The boldest and most inventive will go a step further and try and work out who future regional list Assembly Members are.
All of which is an utter waste of time. If the last five Assembly Elections have shown anything, it’s that they are conducted on a substantially lower turnout and a different political mechanic relating to the propensity of supporters of individual parties to turn out. Thus, constituencies like Ceredigion or Ynys Mon might be fascinating in Westminster terms, but are deathly dull in Assembly terms; and the total reverse is true in Rhondda.
Where Westminster does shape the Assembly election, however, is in relation to the voting intentions based on the performance of the UK Government. Indeed, in every election up till now the performance of the UK Government has probably been more important than the Welsh Government. So, if you really want a big clue as to what the result of the next Assembly election will be, don’t look at the way people voted this week, look at the performance of the government they voted for over the next seventy weeks.